Samuel Roberts: D4 jumps to PC
The unusual Xbox One adventure D4 is coming to PC this June, it was revealed this week. Announcing a release date for this is great news to me. Firstly, between D4, Dead Rising 3, Fable Legends and Ryse, nothing seems off the table for making the leap from Xbox One to PC, which is fantastic (OK, Halo: The Master Chief Collection is probably the exception). Deadly Premonition, Access Games’ previous title, the port of which sucked on PC, had a truly winning personality under all its technical limitations and low-budget looks. The writing, voice-acting and art direction veered well into a bizarre Twin Peaks pastiche, but there was a coherent creative voice behind it all. Real heart, and a confident sense of its own tone.
I knew D4 wasn’t quite the right match for Xbox One. I knew that its initially small install base wasn’t going to go nuts over this quirky download-only adventure. It always belonged on PC, and the release now is something to celebrate, I think. It can live on Steam forever and maybe find a much bigger audience—and hopefully precede even more Xbox games landing on PC.
Tyler Wilde: To boldly GOG...
What I love about GOG is the effort it puts into making sure the old games it distributes work on modern PCs. Sure, I could fiddle with an original copy of Starfleet Academy, but now I can just grab it for $6, knowing that it ought to run fine. GOG also added two other Star Trek games this week, Judgment Rites and 25th Anniversary—exciting stuff! I’ve always been more of a Trek fan than a Wars fan, and I’m happy to have some good news about the former amid all the lightsaber stuff of late.
Chris Livingston: Back in Black
I'm happy to see Black Mesa arrive on Steam in Early Access, and doubly happy to see that sales have been strong: for a large volunteer-driven decade-long mod project, it's great that they're earning some real money. Plus, you can still play the legacy version of the mod for free via download from its official site.
I've started playing it again this week—I played the initial free release a few years ago—and it's an interesting mix of the familiar and the new. Some portions are so faithful to the original Half-Life that my reflexes guide me on autopilot, and others sections have been changed enough to feel fresh and different. I'm curious to see how they'll handle the final portion of the game: if there's anything in Half-Life that could stand a major rethinking, it's probably the Xen levels.
Wes Fenlon: The definitive X-Wing and TIE Fighter get their day
I'm a little bit late to the celebration for this one, but I'm still so pleased that GOG recently updated its versions of X-Wing and TIE Fighter to include the DOS Collector's CD-ROMs. As true fans will tell you, those are the definitive versions, and many GOG members were clamoring for them months ago when the games first showed up. This makes me happy for a couple reasons: one, the best versions of some of PC gaming's most important games are now available to download and play on modern machines. Two, it shows that GOG listens to its fans, and that Disney/Lucasfilm are willing to provide the necessary materials to make these releases a reality. It makes me optimistic that we'll eventually see the entire history of LucasArts and Star Wars games easily accessible online.
If you want a crazy detailed look at the differences between TIE Fighter versions, check out this site.
Phil Savage: License to kill (with bullets made of cars)
Rockstar has clarified their rules around GTA 5 modding, and not a moment too soon. Unverified reports of players being banned for using mods in single-player sessions meant that it was a worrying time for people who—quite reasonably—wanted to shoot cars out of their guns. The news is good: yes you can absolutely do that.
In a Q&A session Rockstar stated that "no one has been banned for using single player modifications, and you should not worry about being banned or being relegated to the cheater pool just for using single player PC mods." What you can't do is take those mods online. To be safe, always uninstall all mods before switching to your GTA Online character. With that caveat in place, feel free to fill Los Santos with absurd and crazy shit.
Andy Kelly: Going underground
This week I finally got around to playing a Metro game. It’s a series I’ve always admired from afar, but never actually took the time to play. So I treated myself to the Redux version of Metro 2033, and I’m loving it so far. Break it down and it’s a pretty basic FPS, but the quality of the atmosphere and world-building drown its shortcomings out.
The tunnels of post-apocalyptic Moscow make for a compellingly bleak setting, and my first visit to the eerie, frozen surface was an unforgettable moment. I know I’m late to the party with this one, but if you’ve been putting off playing the Metro series like me, I recommend devoting some time to it. And once I’ve finished it, I’ve got Last Light to look forward to.